The Nuances of Portable Children’s Church
Innovations in portable materials now make it possible to create a themed environment regardless of budget, available space, or even whether or not your church is in a fixed location. Jonathan Martin, owner of Tulsa, Okla.-based Jonathan Martin Creative, notes, “To get the biggest splash in temporary locations, we encourage the idea of scenery that can be rolled out, hung, or stretched over framework. In some cases, we have built flats with scenery painted on them. These collapse for storage.”
Headrick Inc. recently partnered with Fabric Wall of St. Louis to offer a portable solution for custom themes. Headrick prints custom designs on fabric, which fits over an extruded aluminum tubular system measuring less than an inch deep. “It’s easy to take down and put up somewhere else,” says John Rebry, account executive with Headrick.
Argyle, Texas-based Worlds of Wow President Reagan Hillier takes a cue from the tradeshow world when designing themed environments for portable churches: “You can do a fabric backdrop on an expanding support structure that pops in and out; pop-up signage with original artwork next to a classroom for children’s worship; printed fabric that goes up and comes down easily.”
All three designers recognize the limitations of decorating a portable space, but also its importance in giving children a place where they will feel at home. The challenge is to use just a few elements to create an environment that fits in with the church’s culture and DNA, as well as its budget and space.
Martin reminds church leaders, “Temporary locations are very do-able, but often the scope of ideas has to fit within the confines of available storage and able volunteers to set up and tear down.”